How to choose the ideal radiator for your home

Radiators today are more than just an essential component for your home. There are so many styles, colours and forms to choose from that it is hard to know where to start. Certain radiators work better with specific homes, so doing your research can ensure you make the right choice.

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Don’t forget that a radiator’s most important feature is its ability to heat your home. This is measured in British thermal units (BTUs) per hour and can be calculated online or by a professional.

Which material?

There are many materials to choose from, with steel being the cheapest choice. Aluminium can be modelled into sleek panels and works for a more contemporary look; in addition, aluminium models can be installed on walls and heat up quickly. A disadvantage is that the radiators lose heat rapidly when they are turned off.

Cast iron is a more traditional material and its main advantage is that heat will be retained for longer after the radiator is turned off. If you are thinking about column radiators, cast iron works best and can be bought from specialists such as

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Period radiators

These have aesthetic appeal and give your home a traditional look. Older radiators can suffer from cold spots and need maintenance to ensure they continue to produce heat effectively. You can find older models online or in reclamation yards.

Thermostatic radiator valves

Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) enable you to adjust the temperature of individual radiators and regulate heat output. Fitting TRVs can save you up to £300 a year on central heating costs, so they are worth the initial cost. They can also cut your C02 output by up to 1,717kg each year. If you choose to use TRVs, make sure your radiators are not covered or behind curtains to get the maximum effect they offer.

Further advice

If you choose to buy an old radiator, don’t recondition it yourself. This is a complex process, with reconditioned radiators having a failure rate of one in ten. If you purchase one, make sure it is tested first.

Designer radiators have increased in popularity, but energy efficiency should be kept in mind. Find a model with a minimum ten-year guarantee and check the heat output to ensure your money is well spent.